By Anna Kate Blair

    The Modern is a reflective and playful debut novel about Sophia, a young Australian woman who works at MoMA in New York and loves art more than she loves her partner. Surprised by his recent proposal, Sophia looks to art history and her new connection with Cara, an artist working in a bridal shop, to understand brides and marriage in a modern light. As her partner leaves to trek the Appalachian Trail, Sophia grows closer to Cara and attempts to reconcile queer identity with visibility, informed by the archives of modern artists she studies who defy convention to create lasting works of art that reflect their true inner worlds. 

    This debut is an engaging queer reflection on what is modern and what remains when all things are questionable. Against the backdrop of an energetic city and the unstable category of modern art, The Modern looks at what it means to exist in flux: living abroad, shuttling between temporary jobs, facing up to society’s expectations. I loved the depth Anna Kate Blair goes into when discussing the history of female artists that explores marriage in their work, as well as the thoughtful nature of Sophia’s insights as she deconstructs her world.


    Erin Riley

    A remarkable new storytelling voice on the block, Erin Riley takes you from one topic to the next with a warm, trusting hand. 

    Taking aspects of memoir and essay, A Real Piece of Work explores the nuances of identity, family, social work, and making sense of yourself and those around you. Riley offers distinct insights and reflections across twenty stories, shifting from an early adolescent longing for love, to an intimate recount of their experiences as a social worker, to finding solace in the work of Fiona Wright during COVID lockdowns. Thoroughly researched and charged with heart, Riley places personal experience in conversation with theory in order to offer new ways of interpreting ourselves, and the world we live in. 

    Through bending the conventions of essay and memoir, A Real Piece of Work encourages readers to share in Riley’s questioning of systems and structures. While exploring issues of a serious and topical nature, the sense of hopefulness found in each story is nothing if not infectious. 


    By sydney khoo

    Thank goodness for writing fellowships, and Penguin Random House’s Write It program, as it has brought us the awesome and electric debut novel by sydney khoo, called The Spider and Her Demons, about teenager Zhi and her struggles as a second-generation immigrant in Western Sydney. Oh, and she also happens to be a human/spider hybrid.

    Zhi lives with her overbearing aunt, struggles at her elite girl’s school, and holds everyone, including her best friends, at arm’s length, so they don’t find out the truth about what she really is – half human, half spider monster. Everything changes when the most popular and elusive girl at school, Dior Panne-Nix, takes an interest in Zhi after she witnesses her killing someone (in self-defence!) and then eating them (in…the cycle of life?).

    This YA novel is a fantastic exploration of identity, hiding your true self, trauma, and finding the strength to be yourself and love yourself. It is also fun, fresh, fast-paced and exciting, with expressive writing and believable characters!

    Ages 13+


    By Alice Pung and Sher Rill Ng

    Celebrated local author Alice Pung, and talented Melbournian illustrator, Sher Rill Ng, have released a gorgeous and timely novel about a crafty and creative girl called Millie, titled Millie Mak the Maker. Ten-year-old Millie is half Chinese, half Scottish, and lives with her parents, baby sister and grandma Ahma. Millie has moved to a new neighbourhood and is having trouble finding friends. Using crafty making skills she has picked up from both her Scottish granny and her Ahma, Millie learns to make every-day objects into something new and useful, and in turn, finds inner strength, self-acceptance and of course, lovely new friends.

    Full of heart, kindness and resourcefulness, Millie’s tale will resonate with so many young readers, with its multicultural and inspiring theme. Perfect for ages 7 and up. Available now at the Younger Sun! 

    If you have any great reading suggestions for young or older, please send them to

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    The Sun Bookshop
    The Sun Bookshop
    The Sun Bookshop has been operating since 1998 and is a favourite of the locals in this vibrant inner-city village community at 10 Ballarat Street. The Younger Sun started life in December of 2007 and has rapidly established itself as part of the rich life of the Yarraville community at 26 Murray Street.

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